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Best way for adding help files to application?

James Elsey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 21, 2007
Posts: 228


I have a java web application based on the GWT technology, I would like to write documentation for this application but I'm not sure of the best method for hosting this.

My initial thought was to have one big PDF document, and if the user needs to see help they would click a link on the application to open this PDF. In my opinion this is a rather crude way of doing it, and maintaining a PDF could be a potential nightmare.

What I would really like, is to have some kind of embedded Wiki site, so I can add new pages, check it in via SVN and be done with it. This means that if a user clicks on a help link, they get a new browser window with this wiki.

My main problem is that I haven't been able to find an embedded wiki, I've trawled google but I can't find a good starting point.

The application would run off Tomcat (or glassfish / jetty), I could install mediaWiki separately but that could also become a chore in the future.

Can anyone give me some advice on what to search for? even a heads up on a good product would be brilliant

Thanks for reading


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Ulf Dittmer

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42959
The standard way of adding a help system would be JavaHelp which supports both desktop and web apps.

If you're looking for a servlet-based wiki, check out JSPWiki (or, for something even simpler, Friki, which we're using for the FAQ here at JavaRanch).
James Elsey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 21, 2007
Posts: 228

Thanks for the heads up.

I've installed both friki and JSPwiki, both were easy to setup, pretty much just drop the WAR file into the webapps directory and off you go.

I think I'm going to go for JSPwiki, as the documentation is a hell of a lot better (there is hardly anything on the sourceforge friki page), and out of the box it generally looks better

Thanks again!

I agree. Here's the link:
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